Dunks, blocks and big shots by local boys and girls basketball teams
Nashville coach Wayne Harre knows what it takes to win an IHSA state basketball championship.
It was six years ago this week that Harre led the Hornets to the 2013 Class 2A girls state basketball championship. Now in his second year as the boys coach at Nashville, Harre has the Hornets in a position to contend for the Class 2A boys state crown.
The top-ranked Class 2A team in the state for much of the season, Nashville (29-2) begins the journey to Carver Arena in Peoria on Tuesday against either Dupo or Carlyle at the Class 2A Carlyle Regional. The Hornets are one of two No. 1 seeds for the DuQuoin Regional-Sectional Complex. Pinckneyville, which is competing this week Anna-Jonesboro Regional is the other.
River-to-River Conference rivals, Pinckneyville and Nashville split a pair of regular season games, with Nashville winning the latest meeting on Friday (52-25).
Other regionals involving metro-east teams are being held at Chester and (Piasa) Southwestern. Regional title games are set for Friday.
In Class 1A, its the Madison Trojans and Winchester (Coop) who are the top seeds for the Okawville Regional-Sectional Complex.
Coached by former Madison standout Maurice Baker, the Trojans are just 16-11-1, but have played a tougher schedule than most in their class, including many of the region’s Class 2A and 3A teams. Madison will take on either Brussels or Bunker Hill at the Hardin-Calhoun Regional on Wednesday.
Most of the local Class 1A teams are competing at the Marissa Regional. Defending Class 1A state champion Okawville is a No. 3 seed and could face the host Meteors in the final on Friday.
Other regionals feeding into the Okawville Sectional are being played in New Berlin and Carrollton.
Following is a closer look at the Class 1A and Class 2A Regional-Sectional Complexes involving local teams.
Class 1A Marissa Regional
Seeds: 2. Marissa, 3. Okawville, 6. Gibault, 8. Lovejoy, 9. New Athens, 10, Valmeyer, 14. Lebanon
Could Surprise: Okawville, Gibault
Synopsis: Champions of the Cahokia Conference Kaskaskia Division with a perfect 12-0 record, the Meteors (24-2) have the luxury of playing in their home gym this week. Guards Sebastion Ivory-Greer (16.7 ppg) and Logan Jones (15.9) have combined for 75 3-point field goals and both are shooting over 45 percent from the floor. Third-seed Okawville (16-12) has used a balanced attack which has five players scoring at eight points or more per game. Coached by Jon Kraus, the Rockets are led by senior Will Aubel (10.8 ppg.). Gibault (14-16) is also dangerous especially if guards Karson Huels (17.4) and Logan Doerr (8.3) have good nights.
Class 1A Hardin-Calhoun Regional
Seeds: 1. . Madison, 4. Hardin-Calhoun, 5. Metro East Lutheran, 7. Brussels, 11. Bunker Hill, 12. Mount Olive, 13. Father McGivney
Could Surprise: Hardin-Calhoun, Metro East Lutheran
Synopsis: The Trojans have relied heavily on transfers Emmitt Gordon (17.1) and Antwan Glasper (8.6) for a lot of their offense. But Madison also has four other players capable of having big nights including Kendall Kennedy (9.8) and Carl Moore (8.1). Hardin-Calhoun doesn’’t play nearly the schedule that Madison plays, but the Warriors doe have high scoring Drew Baalman to lead the offense. Metro East Lutheran (14-15) is led by Jason Williams (13,5).
Class 2A Carlyle Regional
Seeds: 1. Nashville, 4. Hillsboro, 6. Wesclin, 7. Carlyle, 9. Dupo
Could Surprise: Hillsboro, Wesclin
Synospsis: With the exception of back-to-back losses to national power Briarcrest (Tenn.) Christian in the title game of the Mater Dei Holiday Tournament and an overtime loss at state power Pinckneyville four days later, Nashville has been the best Class 2A team in the state during the ‘18-19 season. Playing suffocating defense and using the brilliance of senior Bryce Bultman and junior Carson Parker (15.6), the Hornets (29-2) will be a tough out for any team. Hillsboro (17-13), led by Nick Ondrey (13.1) has four players averaing in double figures, while Wesclin, decimated by graduation, has one of the top players in the state in senior Nate Brede. The 6-6 senior guard is averaging 17 points and has 72 2-point field goals this year.
Class 2A Southwestern Regional
Seeds 2. Marquette, 3, Greenville, 5. Lichfield, 8. Staunton, 10. Southwestern, 11. Gillespie
Could Surprise: Greenville
Synospsis: Ranked in the top 12 in the Class 2A poll for much of the season, Marquette (26-3) is good enough to beat any team on a given night and is led by a balanced attack which features Nick Hemann (11.9) and Chris Hartrich (10.8). Greenville (18-12) has a solid 1-2 punch in seniors Chris Stearns (13.4) and Brock Nelson (11,6).
Note: Sixth seed Sparta and 10th-seed Red Bud are competing at the Chester Regional this week.